Eastern and Western spiritual beliefs and violent trauma: A U.S. national community survey

Li Ching Lee, Kathryn M. Connor, Jonathan R.T. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spirituality is relevant to overall health and well-being, yet little is known about spiritual beliefs (SBs) in community samples. This report examined the associations between SBs and trauma history, and SBs and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Data were collected through an online survey from community samples that were representative of the U.S. adult population (n = 1,969) in 2001. Measures of SB comprised concepts and beliefs familiar to both Western and Eastern cultures. We found that Eastern SBs (ESBs), but not Western SBs (WSBs), were associated with a history of violent trauma. Among those who had experienced violent traumas, agreements with ESBs and WSBs were related to more severe PTSD symptoms. The mechanism of acquisition and effects of SBs remain unknown. For clinicians who decide that inquiry into the SBs of a patient is indicated, it may be of value to keep in mind that differences between SB types, as described in this article, may exist and to take these differences into account, as appropriate, in patient management. Some clinical and scientific implications of this work are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 26 2008


  • PTSD
  • Spiritual beliefs
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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